The Effects of Heroin on a Person’s Brain and Body: a Literature Review Essay

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The Effects of Heroin on a Person’s Brain and Body: A Literature Review

Heather Huber
Walden University
Psych 8226-04 Biopsychology
Dr. John Redmon
August 18, 2010
This literature review looks at the detrimental effects of heroin. Since many heroin users often become addicted, it is important to look at its ramifications. Beginning with a brief history of the substance, then discussing treatment programs for those who have problems with heroin abuse, this paper helps to better understand logical reasons that heroin is an illegal substance.

The Effects of Heroin on a Person’s Brain and Body: A Literature Review Heroin, also known as
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O’Brien (2003) states that when discussing addition agent variable, there are three categories to take into consideration. First, agent variables include the onset and duration of the high, and price of the substance. Second, host variables include a risk-taking personality, likeliness of the person to get high, hereditary influences, and a desire to self-medicate. Lastly, environmental variables include peer pressure, and the use of a substance by a role model. These three groups of variables are important to take into consideration when identifying and analyzing an addiction. Viewing addiction from two perspectives, it is in one’s brain, or addiction is a chronic disease (O’Brien, 2003). Research has found that brain mapping is different in the brain of an addict than it is in the brain of a non-addict. Applying the disease approach to addiction, relapses are common and cannot be helped. The philosophy resembles the thoughts such as “would you punish a diabetic for having a sugar crash?” Many times the ideas behind addiction are challenging for people to comprehend when they have not had an addiction themselves or seen another person go through it. It is important for researchers to study addiction so that we can better understand it and help those who are addicted to substances. According to the DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2000), an addiction to heroin would be classified as an